By on November 22, 2017

Today, our question circles around cars with issues. The sort of issues that could send an owner to an early grave or perhaps some preventative therapy, at the very least. Cars with widely-known issues, bad ownership propositions for running costs, depreciation, safety, or something else — they all qualify today.

Which cars would you avoid owning at all costs?

Generally, when this sort of question is running around in my mind, I steer clear of the high-end exotica. You expect a Ferrari to be temperamental. You know a Lotus Esprit is going to mean headache-inducing, parts-sourcing adventures. What you don’t expect is for a car from a normal, everyday brand to be a thorn in the side. And yet it happens. Let’s have a look at a couple of examples.

Image: 1992 Cadillac Seville Touring Sedan, image via YouTube

The Cadillac Seville springs to mind. The Euro-fighting early ’90s entry from General Motors seemed like a great idea — and it looked great, what with that angular styling. But the Seville came complete with rather poor build quality and an early version of the 4.6-liter Northstar engine. There will be blood. Trim issues, head gaskets, electrical gremlins, take your pick. It’s all going to happen at some point, no matter how well you take care of the thing.

It seems like there’s a steady supply of ’90s and 2000s-era Sevilles and STS models lurking on the Internet, just waiting for some sucker to pick one up for $2,100. It’s at the top of my avoid list.

My second example is from a different GM era, but Spyker also deserves some blame here — for the final generation Saab 9-5. The final generation 9-5 was produced between 2010 and 2011 at Saab’s main factory in Sweden. Development and production of the 9-5 was rushed, as GM was in the middle of a forced sale of Saab as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Swedish supercar maker Spyker stepped in to pick up the pieces, and continued 9-5 production until it ran out of money in March of 2011.

Image: 2011 Saab 9-5The result is a solid platform underneath (GM Epsilon II, like the Malibu), with a half-baked and slapdash car built on top of it — a mix of standard GM and special Saab parts. I wouldn’t touch one with a 10-foot pole. The picture above is a 2011 9-5 presently for sale, and yes, the center stack is in that condition after 100,000 miles.

What are your picks for the vehicles you’d avoid at all costs?

[Images: Mini, YouTube, Wikipedia, seller]

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255 Comments on “QOTD: What Car Would You Avoid Owning at All Costs?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “just waiting for some sucker to pick one up for $2,100.”

    You cut me deep, Corey.

    /Drove my Seville to work this morning.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Every year from 1986 to 1998 (with two exceptions I will note) The Old Man would lease a brand new Seville. From ’88 on, always an STS.

      Keeping them for a maximum of 12 months, he experienced only the following issues:
      1) While visiting ‘up north, the N* engine on a few months old STS seized. GM flatbedded it from the dealership where he had it towed and gave him a new vehicle rather than repair the existing one.
      2) On 2 different vehicle the driver’s seat motor broke. Possibly because of his size?

      He did have to replace another one of these vehicles within 6 months of leasing it when, while driving home one evening, he noticed an obviously impaired driver in a German car, driving the wrong way, towards him on a fairly busy divided highway. Rather than trying to steer away, The Old Man drove into the impaired driver’s vehicle (of course in court the other guy hit him and the police and witnesses testified to that). Both cars were totaled with the German car coming out worse. The police did test the other driver for his blood alcohol level. Numerous charges against the other guy, none against The Old Man. The Old Man walked away with a few bruises (air bag related), the other guy was far worse, some of his injuries actually occurring during the collision. Funny but none of the witnesses saw anything happen to that driver after the collision.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        That story sounds far-out enough to sound like fiction but screwy enough to be fact.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          I got the call to go down and get him. Saw the actual scene, spoke with the investigating officers.

          Impaired drivers going the wrong way on divided highways are unfortunately not that uncommon. Usually the other drivers, try to get out of the way until eventually someone gets hit. And tragically for some reason in collisions caused by an impaired driver, far too often it is those in the other vehicle that suffer the most injuries. Not sure why that is the case?

          The Old Man figured one big, mean old guy in a new Cadillac steering into the oncoming car had a much better chance than a young family in a compact our rusted out vehicle. And as a long time Police Officer, with zero alcohol in his system at the time, also figured that he would not suffer any legal retribution.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            As I understand it, impaired drivers are less likely to tense up in anticipation of a collision (which I guess is better for dissipating energy through the body).

          • 0 avatar
            v8fairy

            Well done your Old Man.

            He may not necessarily be the hero we want but he’s the hero we need, He may well have saved multiple lives that day

          • 0 avatar
            v8fairy

            Well done your Old Man.

            He may not necessarily be the hero we want but he’s the hero we need. He may well have saved multiple lives that day

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Ramming Speed!!!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      mgbjack

      any fiat.

    • 0 avatar

      But isn’t your Seville a 4.9?!

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      TTAC: QOTD: What Car Would You Avoid Owning at All Costs?

      ANS: All of them. I’m truck guy (^_^)…..

      ====================

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have yet to know anyone who has had a second hand Land Rover that has had a good experience, so I will go with any aged Land Rover product.

  • avatar
    Eggshen2013

    Any of the current crop of SUV’s, CUV’s or whatever the hell those boxes on 4 wheels are called.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Any new BMW or non-AMG Mercedes. BMW has never been exactly trouble free and they are no longer the ultimate driving machine. Mercedes has lost their soul. They aren’t the stead, reliable cars you cruise down the road in class any longer. Some even look like a Honda Civic without the benefit of actually being a Honda Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      Menar Fromarz

      Ouch. Best Merc slam I’ve ever seen. Totally agree though !

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Had an AMG S55. Was still a piece of junk. A fast wonderful piece of junk, but still junk.
        ABC was crafted in the Devils workshop. A supercharger with an electromagnetic clutch. Only Satan himself could come up with gear that is great when it works (to tempt you) but so rarely works correctly. I still have a scar from trying to get the line fittings off of the hydraulic lines that snaked everywhere on that beast. How tight were they? Gutentight! They don’t budge until they completely let go and I got to wrist-punch a thin piece of bodywork with all my might. Hydraulic fluid doesn’t feel good in a gaping wound. Though buying 11 qts of blood might be cheaper than pentosin CHF-11s.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I was of the impression that thanks largely to Chrysler, Mercedes quality has become quite reasonable. Personally, I’d avoid AMG, as they’re pushing the limits there.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      As a happy Civic owner, I’m used to the styling comments (my teenage kids think it is cool), So pile on as you deem necessary. Having said that, I concur that MB has lost it. The last one I owned was a CLS 500, and that was the beginning of the end for me. I have seen a couple of the current MBs, and had to take a double check to verify they were indeed wearing the 3-pointed Star. I mean, butt-ugly.
      I am actually glad that as I got older I recognized that my investment in expensive cars was detrimental to my retirement plans.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I have no qualms with any of Honda’s cars and they are nice cars. My niece just bought a couple years old Civic and it is a nice car.

        My statement was meant to convey that MB styling no longer has MB DNA and they aren’t as reliable as the cars they are trying to look like. (Intentional or not)

  • avatar
    JTP3

    Yeah, The last generation SAAB 9-5 was not a perfect car but to be one of two cars you rate “to avoid at any cost”? And it made this list because the paint scraped off the GM radio buttons?
    [whoops, JTP3 was too rude and insulting. -Mod]

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like you just personally insulted me in your very first comment on this site. That’s not allowed, and this is your warning. Don’t do it again.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        JTP3, no insults please – that’s how B&B rolls.

        Corey… the point remains valid. That’s pretty minuscule, and clicking the link shows the car has hundred thousand miles on it, not ten.

        • 0 avatar

          They’re Saab buttons with finish failure. What’s it say for the rest of the car’s quality if the buttons don’t even stay intact?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Nothing good, but then again, it’s hard to evaluate the car’s reliability on those buttons alone.

            (And, yeah, I’m sure it’s a piece of junk too.)

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I dunno, but I’ve seen BMWs with half the mileage and worse looking buttons.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Who wants to stare at worn-a$$ buttons?

            I noticed that other manufactures decided it was easier to make the area around the nob light up instead of the nob itself (Toyota for one) or could actually produce a coating that didn’t slowly wear off. (Ford and a fleet of D186 platform Taurus that my district had – buttons still looked good after years of abuse.)

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            I’d say the worst problem with one of these is going to be the availability of parts and service due to the low number sold. It would probably be easier to find parts for a Studebaker. (Of course if you want a real unicorn there is the 9-4X.)

      • 0 avatar
        JTP3

        It must have been the Cincinnati reference.I’ll try and play nice.
        I still think your choice of two cars to avoid at all costs and the reasons are pretty lame.

  • avatar
    brettc

    The ultra-rare 9-4x also seems to have the same problem with centre console buttons based on the pictures I could find of some used ones. That’d be another one not to touch with a 30 foot pole, despite how cool it is to own a vehicle that sold 800 copies before production ended.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Chipped/worn coverings on backlit interior controls are extremely common in most GM vehicles throughout the 2000s. It wouldn’t surprise me if they all came from the same (ultra) low bidder.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        GMs worst offender seemed to be the vehicles built on the GMT360 platform.

        I rarely saw a used one (regardless of how low the mileage) that didn’t have the “black buttons turned white” syndrome. That kept them off my shopping list when I was SUV/CUV shopping – there would have been a certain stealthy-ness to a Buick Rainier with 5.3 V8 and AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged Miata Man

          Good call on the GMT360s. I also had similar issues with the HVAC knobs and power window switches in a babied N-body 2004 Grand Am at less than 20K miles.

          It’s really a shame, because as you note there are some pretty interesting vehicles from that era that are excellent bargain choices, but for decisions like this to cheap out on frequently-used switchgear (which, of course, is among the reasons WHY they’re bargain choices.)

          Worn out buttons may not bother some people, but it drives me nuts – especially at night.

    • 0 avatar
      ra_pro

      I once had a Saab and yes the button paint may come off but most other stuff was pretty solid. I had it for about 3 years and only needed to replace a wheel bearing. All in all it was enjoyable ownership, very good car except for the torque steer.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Any Ford with a Powershift dual clutch.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Very difficult question for me; I’m relatively unbiased outside of a dislike for certain brands. Specific vehicles? At the moment I can’t think of a single one. I’ve had good and I’ve had bad but every single bad has been a used car, meaning anything older than about 2 years. Sure, you can luck up and get some great bargains but every time I’ve bought used I’ve had to spend anywhere from $1K-$5K within the first year to fix OPP (Other People’s Problems.) And that’s even when I’ve personally known that Other Person.

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    After owning a 2011 Clubman S for about 2 years, I’d say stay away from this generation of Minis. I’ve heard the new F-series are pretty good but I think too many people have been soured by the past that no one is considering them. Hence the severe decline in sales year over year for several years now.

    • 0 avatar
      make_light

      Care to elaborate? I’m oddly enamored by that generation of Clubman and have considered prowling for a later used one next year.

      • 0 avatar
        jonnyanalog

        My issues started with the thermostat going bad the day after I got the car then issues with VANOS came up and recently the high pressure fuel pump failed. The last issues, VANOS and the HPFP, stranded me. I constantly worry about the car throwing a code or something else going wrong where I’m stranded.
        Oh and BMW said its within spec to burn 1 quart of oil every 750 miles. Thats insane for a modern, high tech motor.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          The HPFPs are known to be an issue on those–but just the turbos, the NA engines don’t use DI. That oil consumption is nuts.

          I had an ’09 Clubman for a couple years, only issue was the internal thermostat died, borking the climate control.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Oh and BMW said its within spec to burn 1 quart of oil every 750 miles. Thats insane for a modern, high tech motor.”

          Reminds me of the old 318c.i.d. V8 in my ’79 Dodge Aspen. Blew out the top quart on every oil change–and didn’t use a single drop after that. Would stay at that ‘1-quart-low’ mark until the next oil change, more than 5,000 miles later. Only took a couple times topping it off and realizing it took only a very little time to drop back that I started watching to see how far it would go. In over 70,000 miles, it never went below that 1 qt low mark, no matter how quickly it got there or how long I went between oil changes.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            My old man took a 318 CID to 199,995k. No lie, little bro wrecked the car on the ice coming home his buddies house. Old man was knew the van was junk, tin worm plus the mileage, but he really wanted to flip to 200k.

    • 0 avatar
      islander800

      I remember reading some years back that the auto transmission on the Mini was NOT dealer-serviceable. If you had problems, the remedy was… a new transmission (!) from BMW. Is this still the case? Any car that has a “required service” like that is one to be avoided at all costs.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I’m told that the only remedy for a malfunctioning XTronic CVT from Nissan is a new one from Nissan. They’re unrepairable, unrebuildable.

        Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    3rd gen Chrysler Sebring. Rented one that drove, felt, and looked cheap inside and out. It doesn’t even matter if it has the 2.7L, no way I’d touch one of these scallop-hooded beasts.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Any MkIV VW.

    I’ve owned plenty of cheaply built GM cars, but nothing before or since approaches the subterranean level of build quality I saw in my 01 Beetle. Add in a series of expensive repairs to the TDI powertrain and that was an ownership experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      ccbc

      Whish me luck then. I just got a 2004 TDI Golf with 212k km. Not sure why you feel it is cheap, the drive is stiff and the overall is fine for a car designed more than 20 years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        They can be okay if you can keep up on the maintenance by the book. They don’t tolerate neglect well at all.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        My comment wasn’t really meant as a dig at the driving characteristics, which were fine (when the car ran).

        The cheap feeling stemmed from the fact that at just over 10 years old, every button or switch inside seemed to be loose or broken, electronics would glitch or just not work, the seat material was subpar and ripped easily, etc. Even compared to other cars at similar price points and of a similar age, the cost-cutting difference was glaring to me.

        • 0 avatar
          ccbc

          I definitely haven’t seen anything like that in mine. The only stupidity was having a friend that didn’t know that the the glovebox was locked, tried to open it as regular and close it back with force. I had to destroy the handle and lock to open it back. Design issue. I never changed the handle.

    • 0 avatar
      L.Hutz

      For early iterations of the MkIV, I would have to agree; but the later models, in my experience, improved significantly.

      I picked up an ’04 GTI VR6 with over 100,000 miles on it and then drove it to almost 200,000 before trading up to a brand new MkVII (and even then, only because I wanted 4 doors for baby-hauling duty).

      I had very few issues with that car (it was still on the original clutch when I traded it in), and I dearly miss that engine. The soft-touch coating to the interior bits was absolute crap, and had entirely rubbed off by the time I owned it, but other than that, the build quality was solid.

      The trick with owning a MkIV is a skilled mechanic who knows German cars. Otherwise, you will pay an arm and a leg for basic repairs.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Simca. Fortunately, you’ll never find one.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Our family had a Simca in Europe. 1958 Vedette Beaulieu, European spec., bought new. It seated 6 people and had a Ford-derived 2.4L V8. Put 140,000 miles on it in Europe with no problems I recall. Always heavily loaded with camping gear for 5, it went over the old roads over all the passes in the Alps. My dad had it shipped back to Canada for further use, but it seemed defenseless against rust. It may have been unique in North America. A very few were imported, but in North American spec. NA spec was different taillights, white instead of yellow headlights, and speedometer in miles.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I leased a new Land Rover LR3 in 2006. 24 month lease.

    Wiper on driver side was bent. would not wipe rain.
    2 front wheels were toe in. ate tires at 10000 miles.
    2 note horn shortly became a 1 note horn.

    Besides that. Perfect car man. (NOT !)
    Land Rover = POS.

  • avatar
    fleeno

    I wish the Seville was better! I had a new one in 2000, and it’s one of the cars I miss the most. It was just so smooth and that Northstar felt great. I still accidentally reach for the column mounted climate control levers.

    I see them cheap now, but have heard the same stories about the motor.

    Fun fact, when I bought it I had to wait a week to pick it up because it wouldn’t start! Some sort of computer problem. After that though I never had any real problem with it.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Prius – no amount of good fuel economy and reliability is worth the awful driving dynamics (CVT sucks), terrible interior quality, a ugly styling.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If my driving was limited to lots of clogged city streets, I’d take a nice one from the last gen. You can say you what you want about these cars and the people who own them, but they’re incredibly reliable, and cheap to run.

      But I’m with you on the current gen’s styling – it looks like a space amoeba. Yecch.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Yes the Prius is at its best in the city, but a C-Max, Volt, or i3 rex are all much more pleasurable cars to drive, easier to park, and similarly economical, and have terrible resale value so better values used.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Any Pontiac sedan made from 1980-2010. Low quality, cheap feeling, and utterly devoid of anything interesting. I would shy away from Buicks of a similar vintage as well for many of the same reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Literally shaking from this triggering comment.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Deep breaths, ajla, deep breaths. Then take one of these hourly for the next four hours:
        – https://www.caranddriver.com/features/1983-10best-cars-1983-pontiac-6000ste-page-1
        – https://www.caranddriver.com/features/1984-10best-cars-1984-pontiac-6000ste-page-7
        – https://www.caranddriver.com/features/1985-10best-cars-1985-pontiac-6000ste-page-10
        – https://www.caranddriver.com/features/1987-10best-cars-feature-1987-pontiac-bonneville-se-page-9

    • 0 avatar
      MartyToo

      We had a 97 Grand Prix that the family loved. I do remember a few maddening things about it. The dreaded plastic water plenum leak, a replaced compressor for the AC, a couple of resistor packs for the heater control and a bum pulley that caused us to overheat. But that car was carefree compared to my 2000 SLE.

      The Bonneville had so many problems that I got special consideration from the dealer. They were literally renting loaners for me because they saw the car so much. One big plus was that I had bought a no deductible extended warranty through Sam’s Club. I made over $1000 on that warranty transaction (assuming I would have kept the car the 3 years that it covered me) even though they refused to pay for my alleged bad coils. Corrosion damage is not covered and the way that the dealer had reported the problem was that the coils were corroded.

      I remember the dealer telling me that when the fuel gauge float went bad he was able to talk the insurance guy into changing the fuel pump at the same time. I think no deductible made a difference in their decision.

      So the dealer was able to get full price for all the idiotic repairs. They loved seeing me. I wish I could cut and paste a list of all the foolish repairs. The list is handwritten and will sit in my filing cabinet until I am gone.

      The final straw was the $100 lock up torque converter solenoid which cost me about $1200 to replace. When the transmission guy had the transmission out he noticed a bad knock sensor which he replaced without any additional labor charge. This caused my suspicion that the coils might not have needed replacement. This Pontiac V-6 had the same damn symptom as my 95 LeSabre (bought from a relative). The Buick dealer swore that they had checked the knock sensor, but my conclusion after this repair was that the Buick mechanics wanted no part of replacing a knock sensor that would require moving the transmission.

      5 Hondas later could be my new handle.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      As a former owner of a 2009 G8 GXP, I can say it did feel cheap, but it was very much “interesting.”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I inherited an ’05 Grand Am. Certainly not perfect, but the 3.4L/4-speed slushbox is a hell of a smooth drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      I owned a ’94 Buick LeSabre for a number of years. In no way sporty, but a smooth, generally reliable, and surprisingly economical cruiser. 3800s Forever!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Them’s fightin words. The supercharged ones were fun, and the V8 Grand Prix was a real hoot between shredding transmissions.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Subaru brand, Subaru 2.5, and anything with a boxer engine or a 5-cylinder in it.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    Well that’s easy!!! Anything Chinese or any Land Rover/Range Rover.

  • avatar
    L.Hutz

    Anything built by Ford in the 1990s.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Anything FCA.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d take the plunge on a Wrangler if I had enough dough to use it as a weekend car.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        A Wrangler doesn’t have to be a weekend car. Mine is a DD. It did have a problem though, I must admit: some time after 128k miles the transmission cooler lines sprung a leak. New lines were $160. Nothing since then. Maybe it helps that I didn’t lift it or install a supercharger.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Yep. Add to that any Chrysler product borne under Daimler and Cerberus, or equipped with a Mitsu engine and/or pre-41TE Ultradrive.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Anything German (or owned by a German company) unless I can afford to dump it at the end of the warranty.

    Saab because of being a zombie brand and I’m certain most GM dealers won’t touch one with a 39 and 1/2 foot pole.

    Any vehicle with a transverse mounted V8, they all seem to be trouble. From the Northstar to the LS4 V8 they either were maintenance nightmares or ate transmissions like they were candy coated.

    Anything from first year of production of a new generation.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    An FCA minivan. Thanks to the value proposition and attractive styling of both the Pacifica and the Caravan I’m always tempted to consider them when I think about replacing my Odyssey. Then I remember the horror stories from literally every single person I know who have owned one and I have to resist…

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I hear just as many horror stories about Odysseys, if I have to drive a minivan with questionable engineering, it better be cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        I think the Odyssey issue is that Hondas are supposed to be flawless and bulletproof, and the fact that they’re merely good enough, with some problems here and there, sends people into outrage. Meanwhile, everyone expects an FCA van to be junk, so they’re much more willing to put up with it. I know a lot of Odyssey owners as well and I would say the two are not in the same ballpark. Sure, some Odysseys lose a transmission at 150k or so and have sliding doors that break. Meanwhile most FCA vans lose their transmission every 40k like clockwork and have any number of other serious issues right out of the box. At the end of the day, a subpar Honda still seems to beat the heck out of FCA, quality-wise…

        • 0 avatar
          TOTitan

          The last time I went for a smog test there was a lady ahead of me with a Odyssey who proudly told me that she had almost 200,000 miles on it. I asked her how many times she has replaced the transmission. She blushed and said three times. I wonder if Honda ever woke up and started installing trans coolers on their vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            brettc

            Any idea how much an Odyssey transmission costs to replace? Those Honda techs probably have it down by now.

          • 0 avatar
            Sloomis

            Three transmissions in 200,000 miles means you either got a lemon of a Honda, or a fantastic Chrysler/Dodge…

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Three transmissions in 200,000 miles means you either got a lemon of a Honda”

            Our friends’ early-aughts Odyssey was on its third transmission well before 150K. Those notorious Honda transmissions are why I wouldn’t spring for a current Honda CVT until a large number of them have seen serious mileage.

            It is possible for Honda to screw up royally.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          The Odyssey had widespread transmission issues in the 2000s. My cousin’s transmission shop’s bread and butter transitioned from Chrysler minivans in the 90’s to Honda minivans and SUVs in the 2000s.

          Meanwhile, the Grand Caravan is so well sorted out it has a lower average warranty cost than the average Toyota. There’s really nothing to fear with them.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I agree with you, Sloomis. I think if it didn’t have the Honda name, nobody would think it out of the ordinary for it to have issues. In fact, you’d see people calling them a pretty good minivan while excusing the trans issues by saying they otherwise hold up very well, because they do. Anyone who doesn’t think so should interview a few owners of GM U body minivans, Ford Freestars and Kia Sedonas. The Ody is bullet-proof compared to those turds.

          I mean, people take up for Chrysler minivans, and their reliability is highly questionable (and always has been, going back to before Honda ever made a minivan for the North American market). If they were just as trouble-prone but sold with a Japanese nameplate, they wouldn’t be nearly as forgiven for their issues.

          • 0 avatar
            AtoB

            “I mean, people take up for Chrysler minivans, and their reliability is highly questionable (and always has been, going back to before Honda ever made a minivan for the North American market). If they were just as trouble-prone but sold with a Japanese nameplate, they wouldn’t be nearly as forgiven for their issues.”

            We had a ’99 Dodge Caravan 2.4 3spd auto from new for about 10 years. My sister has a ’06 Honda Ody. The Dodge was been more reliable overall despite having lead a much harder life, partly because it had manual doors and far less gismos

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “I mean, people take up for Chrysler minivans, and their reliability is highly questionable (and always has been, going back to before Honda ever made a minivan for the North American market).”

            This is conjecture by someone with brand bias. The reliability of Chrysler branded minivans made in the last decade and a half is very good by accepted measures.

          • 0 avatar

            Now I think we need to be *very* careful about whom we accuse of brand bias around here.

            Because when the company you’re defending signs your checks, it might reflect a lil bit of bias.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Mr. Conjecture himself. Do you dispute the data?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yes, clearly I have my preferences, but I’m not a believer in blind faith. A dud is a dud, I don’t care what name is on the grille. If I were as biased as you say, I’d be trying to convince you that the Freestar was the bestest FWD minivan EVAH. The day I claim that, that day, I cut my throat.

            The “data” I see is people I’ve known with later Town and Country and Caravans. You can’t convince me that because the older V-6 Hondas $#¡Г their transmissions between 150-200k that they’re pure garbage while a Chrysler that needs major repairs, on trans and other components, before 100k is so much better.

            I’m sure that the kinks have been worked out of the Caravan by now. I mean, its been in production so long in its current form, I’d be surprised if they still hadn’t figured it out.

            And, lets complain about the ZF 9AT-equipped current Oddyssy, because the Pacifica doesn’t use the exact same unit?

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      FCA Mini Vans have been good to us, as a kid we had the bulky 90 squared up Caravan, other than a belt it had no serious issues.

      Currently a relative has a third generation Town and Country. Its at 230k+ miles, the biggest issue is the broken AC.

      Given my Honda experiences Id sooner grab a Chrysler myself, if partly because it’s much easier to find an old mans car.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Had an 05′ T&C for 5 years. No issues other than burned out power sliding door motor. Kids would hang on the handle when it was opening. Warranty paid for it, fine with me.

        Honestly, I don’t know many people who have had major issues with their T&C’s.

      • 0 avatar

        If you want an old man to own your car before you, you can search for either:

        -Loaded-only examples of your selected car, or;

        -The luxury brand equivalent of the basic car you were seeking.

        So swap that Accord search for a TL/TLX and you’ll have an easier job finding old man ones.

        This generally works across the board.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          … Then you run into my recent acquisition, the ’97 Ranger, which was very definitely an “old man’s car” as a “stripper” miser-mobile being an XLT whose only real luxuries were variable-speed wipers, split-pane rear window and a four-speaker audio system with cassette (still in working condition, but very probably needs belts replaced.) Oh, and it came with cup holders mounted to either side of the 5-speed shifter. The only exterior bling with the package was a two-tone stripe along the shoulder crease running nose to tail and styled steel (I think) wheels featuring a chromed axle cap.

          Not all ‘old folks’ cars are going to be ‘luxed out versions.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Um, the XLT isn’t the base model Ranger, its the upgrade.

            XL is the base model. The one with a vinyl bench seat, no tachometer, rubber floor, manual everything, black grille with no chrome, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I didn’t say it was a base model; even I know XLT is a step up. At the time of purchase, this was the cheapest one on the lot (I have both the window sticker and the original purchase paperwork.) And remember, over the course of 18 years he only put 19,000 miles on it–running back and forth to Home Depot and Lowe’s. I’m not doing a whole lot better… just over 5000 miles in 2.5 years. But then, once the snow falls, it doesn’t move again until the snow’s gone.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            You called it a “stripper”, forgive my horrible mistake in thinking you were referring to it as a basic-equipped truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I knew the previous owner quite well (my step-father). He never paid more than the bare minimum for his vehicles. The ‘family car’ was purchased by his wife or, in the case of my mother, her previous husband. She still has the old Caddy with about 35K on the clock.

            That Ranger could have had a lot more in it, but it didn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I know four people with Dodge Caravans. None of them have horror stories. One of them has 450,000 miles on it.

      I wouldn’t own one myself, as they tend to have little things go wrong with them, but they are durable.

      “Three transmissions in 200,000 miles means you either got a lemon of a Honda”

      I can’t stand statements like this. Your Domestic is doing well? Damn, you got lucky. Your Import had issues? That’s a fluke.

      Bull. The reality is that if you take care of a vehicle, it will take care of you.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        That’s the general rule, but some fail despite being cared for and not abused. I’m not speaking of Honda specifically, just of real lemons that happen from time to time.

        My Taurus rolled over 237K this morning, lol. Got a while to go before I catch up to my friend’s 1997 with 260k on it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Subaru Crosstrek. Sorry, I ain’t that guy.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Most things made by GM. I’d make an exception for a ‘Vette and/or a Colorado truck. After past experiences with VW and Volvo those brands are off the list too. Avoiding Range Rover is a given, not sure why anyone would suffer with one of those things unless they really like the coffee at service center. Individual vehicles can be hit or miss, not sure there is one that stands out in the “must avoid” as I bet they are already off my radar anyway… like most CUVs & SUVs and Euro luxury traps.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Anything:

    Loaded
    Recently redesigned or introduced
    Italian
    British
    German
    Subaru (Rest of Japan is fine)
    Small American (Ford gets a pass here, no autos)

    • 0 avatar

      You must be fun at parties.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        A Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and many other sports/sporty/fun/interesting cars fit his criteria, so I don’t see what the issue is. Camaro, Mustang, Fusion Sport, Taurus SHO, Challenger/Charger, hell even the Demon cars. The LX cars are distantly related to Mercedes architecture, but it would be a stretch to call them German.

        • 0 avatar

          @JohnTaurus: Nope, you missed these criteria, “Loaded, Recently redesigned or introduced.”

          Which means no RS, no Type R, no Fusion Sport, no Taurus SHO, and none of the muscle cars you mentioned (since they have all been ‘recently redesigned’ or would be ‘loaded’).

          My statement stands.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            The FCA cars and the SHO were not recently redesigned, unless your definition of “recently” is less than a decade (2010 for the Taurus, for example).

            Yes the Type R was recently introduced, but the RS has been on the market long enough for major issues to come to light.
            Same, actually more so, with the ST variants of the Fiesta and Focus. The 2.7L in the Fusion Sport has been on the market for a while, as has the car itself. Yes these cars have more equipment than a base model, but I don’t know that they’re all “loaded” like, say, a Black Label Continental or similar.

            My point was, he wasn’t trying to exclude any and everything fun, just stuff that’s risky. I don’t see that as just cause to insult him.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Escalade for the image it projects. It seems to fill the niche previously held by the H3.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “early version of the 4.6-liter Northstar engine”

    Early?

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Most any GM or FCA vehicle though I have owned a Fiat 500 Abarth, never had a problem wit it, and now I have a 500 X a nice car but a faulty 9 speed trans makes it tough to recommend.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I refuse to own a Volvo 850 ever again, when Volov made these they forgot how door stops and dipsticks worked, let alone the cheap Ikea interior or the complex emissions system. The drivetrain was at least okay, other than an interference engine, Later 850 bases S70s got a handy ECU/safety system that can only be serviced at dealers.

    I probably won’t have anymore “Golden Age” Hondas either, the two I had came with serious issues and neither were easy to work on for a tall guy. Rust was a serious issue too. The interiors were nic be it the durable non cloth headliners or the soft clothe door inserts, above any Toyota from that time. I did hate the fuse box placement though.

  • avatar
    yoribe

    That is a ghastly center switch console on the Saab 9-5; what is with the X-shaped indentation down the middle? A knob would have been more appropriate than a rocker switch for fan speed adjustment. I imagine the black enamel is worn off of the fan speed adjustment switch on most other 9-5’s.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Forgot to add earlier: Any luxury branded vehicle with a 4 cylinder engine.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    saab console looks just like a vag product. friend has a 2007 jetta. the high use knobs are all missing their black coloring. i blame it on his daughters long fingernails that tend to chip that covering over time. in my mind for a 100k+ mile car no big deal.

  • avatar
    pbx

    Late Ford era Jaguars

  • avatar
    stevejac

    ’90’s era Volvo… Our 1990 740 taught me why Volvos have the reputation for being safe. It’s hard to be killed in a car that won’t run.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Anything bright red, orange, or yellow. Never.

    Anything where I can reasonably expect a shop visit to cost me five figures. (That excludes a lot of otherwise tempting used high-end German machinery.)

    Anything that has seen significant engine or suspension modifications, even if ostensibly returned to stock.

  • avatar
    Messerschmitten

    Sadly, all iterations of the Cadillac Allante fall into this category (for me). The final year of production used the aforementioned, ill-fated Northstar. In the pre-Northstar era, Allantes used an unusual Bosch power-brake setup that is notoriously fickle … and *very* expensive to repair.

    Every time I see one for sale for a few thousand bucks, I have to remind myself that I’ve seen more than one Cadillac expert refer to the Allante as a “ticking time bomb.”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Right?

      https://gulfport.craigslist.org/cto/d/1992-cadillac-allante-great/6368500549.html

      • 0 avatar
        Messerschmitten

        Wow. Thanks for backing me up. :-)

        His repair estimate is very conservative. I’ve heard that the Bosch brake master cylinder alone runs close to $3k … uninstalled.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          There has gotta be a way to fix it cheaper. I read somewhere that a early 1990s Dynasty (?) Bosch system can be adapted, evidently its as simple as adapting the wiring pigtail. I dunno. Seems like such a nice car to give up on. I just can’t imagine that it would be impossible to retrofit some other system in. But, this is just a hypothesis, as I haven’t any experience with the cars.

          I’m far from a Cadillac man, hell, I’d much rather have an Oldsmobile *IF* I was going GM, but again, it’s such a nice car.

  • avatar
    Importamation

    I’m going to weigh in to defend Land Rover….I bought a 2011 LR4 new, and just traded it after 6 years and 110,000 miles. Had very little trouble out of it. No repairs, actually, except the hood alarm switch (a $30 part on eBay I replaced myself). Did have some wear items in the front suspension at about 75,000 miles which I thought were very overpriced. And owing to it’s weight, it ate tires and brake pads precisely every 30,000 miles. But it was more reliable than the Japanese SUV it replaced, which we also had for over 100,000 miles. I did not buy another one, though, as the ride, comfort, and overall luxury were not commensurate with the price. Noticed that shortly after living with it day to day, but stuck it out anyway. So I’m not a LR fanboy. But it was a reliable vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I read your Curbside Classic article on the LR4, and it did seem like high-praise for the LR4. It seems like the Range Rovers are the ones that break all the time, not the Discovery / LR series.

      I was most surprised by your account of the W221 S-Class; I thought for sure that that would be a recipe for financial suicide.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I’m avoiding turbochargers and gazillion-speed automatic transmissions.

    A turbo is for a good time not a long time. It is significantly more failure prone than the engine and as expensive to repair, often failing out of warranty. Quality synthetic motor oil and frequent oil changes may extend a turbo’s life but that is less than guaranteed. Worse, the used car purchaser rarely knows how it was really maintained and operated.

    The driveability and fuel economy benefits of hugely complex eight, nine and ten speed transmissions are highly suspect, disproportional to their steep cost and risk. They are likely to be significantly less reliable and impose staggering after warranty repair expense, more than many middle-aged cars’ true market value.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “gazillion-speed automatic transmissions”

      It’s not a hard and fast rule but right now it seems like “even number of gears”is better than “odd number of gears.”

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        Except for the Turbo Hydramatic, either the 350 or the 400, both of which are three speed transmissions and are the second-most-indestructible automatic transmission ever.

        The most-indestructible? The Powerglide.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      The GM/Chrysler 8sp seems to give a very good account of itself in trucks and SUVs. Now it’s true that it’s unduly long and possibly somewhat too heavy, but it works for what it’s designed to do: save fuel.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Ford product with a 3.8L V-6, or any of the related engines.

    Most any DCX/Cebrus/FCA vehicles.

    Most Nissans made since the early 2000s.

    Most Toyotas, the exceptions being the first gen XB, the FJ Cruiser, the 86. I have the xA xD and the second gen xB on the list for potential Uber/Lyft vehicles.

    European cars.

    Most any Hyundai or Kia product. The BOF Sportage and Sorento, and the Borrego are acceptable. I don’t hate the Soul, but I find it hard to trust.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I’d drive an MN-12 Thunderbird with the 3.8 SC

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Point taken, but for me, I’d rather rock a reliable 5.0L or 4.6L. I had a 1994 Thunderbird LX 4.6L, it was a great car. Handled well, comfortable, plenty of power, smooth delivery.

        The most reliable 3.8L I’ve encountered was in a 1994 Cougar. I do like the Cougar of that style (the much nicer wrap-around dash with dual airbags instead of the motorized belts), and if I had to choose a 3.8L Ford product, that would be it.

        I’d rather adapt a supercharger to the sturdy 3.0L Vulcan (rebuilt with forged internals of course).

        That’s one of my favorite engines, and I wish Ford would have developed it more. Sure would have saved them a lot in warranty repairs over the 3.8L!

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    If it’s made by GM, I’m not buying.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Trigger warning! Trigger warning!

    Any Panther. 2 decades of riding in and driving my Grandpa’s beloved Gran Marquis (about 5 of them) taught me they are complete garbage. Yeah, I know they’ll run forever, but who wants to be in one while it’s doing it? Not me!

    The only thing worse is a Chrysler K-car.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      No argument from me. I hated my parents 2008 Grand Marquis. I’m so glad I convinced them to move up to a 2012 Taurus SEL. As much flack as the B&B give the 6th gen Taurus, its a better car in every way.

      The only Panther I’d take would be a 1995-1997 Town Car. But, I’d still rather have a C body Ninety-Eight, a 98-02 Continental (floor shift, please) or a late Mark VIII (’98 LSC please!).

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Driven many Panthers, in many forms. The only real issue is the air suspension on the Town Cars. Way too fragile.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      My close friends bought a Crown Vic tonight. 48K, they paid $2500 for it. Since its replacing a 2004ish Impala, I can’t say much. I hope they enjoy it.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        My biggest issue is the pillowy totally unsupportive seats. Only time that a three hour drive has given both me and my wife excruciating lower back pain (neither one of us has a bad back).

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I do have back issues, and they kill me. The uncontrolled ride causes me to subconsciously tense up, which worsens the issue by a factor of 10.

          Several people have told me that a Crown Vic is perfect for someone like me with back issues, but a strongly beg to differ. Give me the more controlled ride of a Taurus over that wallowy bobbing up/down/side-to-side crap with unsupportive seats that feel like they’re 3 inches off the floor any day.

  • avatar
    Zane Wylder

    You’d never see me buying a hybrid or electric car, especially those fruity Prius’

    Rather walk than be a tool

  • avatar
    Newsy1904

    Any GM Lambda platform vehicle (Traverse, Acadia, Enclave) from 2008 thru 2012, but due to experience, any GM vehicle for me now. Never again.

    My current 2010 Chev Traverse has been a wonderful driving experience – many 10 and 12 hour days in it. But a sad reliability story, far surpassing my former 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan for troubles (looking back now…. the van was awesome and the dealer was great). For the last 4 years I’ve worried about the Chev’s timing chain as GM issued an extension of warranty coverage on the 2009’s chains. Timing chain is supposed to be changed at 160,000km – big $$ to fix.

    I’ve been in the dealers garage at least 15 times in 7 years not including routine servicing like oil changes and tire rotations. Foul odor in cabin, AC Compressor, front suspension clunk, HVAC actuator, power window switches, seat belts, water pump, rotors & more.

    Today it is at a private mechanic dealing with the timing chain, looking at an engine replacement… 129,000km.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Land Rover Freelander. Everyone that I have ever known (a handful) that had one had catastrophic engine failure. A guy I used to work with would buy them up with grenaded engines and repair them. Because Land Rover he was always able to sell them quickly, even with full disclosure.

  • avatar

    Nissan Versa Note – the automotive signifier of giving up on life.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I like the Note over the 1st gen Versa. But, its like saying I like one terminal disease over another.

      I think I’d take a Note over a Mirage, too. Again, not exactly high praise.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Anything and everything by Fiat.

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    I would never own again a Volvo. My model in particular was 1996 Station Wagon 850 SE.
    Under powered, rust bucket, undersized suspension, rain water would seep in, dead cold in the winter, the only saving grace were the front heated seats. I had to mount a sheet of corrugated cardboard in front of the radiator so I would not freeze in it. Air conditioning when it worked it always smelled like wet cats first time you would run it.
    Also, I would never own another GM vehicle. Had two of them: Chevy Corsica 3.1 liter V6. Man, that thing knew how to die on you when it was wet outside. And an Oldsmobile Intrigue with the infamous intake manifold gasket issue and the famous Lucas headlamps.
    Stayed away from Chrysler and Ford vehicles just from the horror stories I heard.
    Maybe they’re good now, I don’t know and don’t want to try.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Any ICE. To hell with cylinder heads, timing chains,crankshafts,camshafts, bearings. Turbos, multi-speed transmissions, CVTs, emission equipment, fuel pumps, fuel tank etc. 3 month oil changes etc etc.

    Particularly now that there’s increasingly an EV variant available.

  • avatar
    MartyToo

    I believed this until the 90’s. Colombo believed this. He drove a fifties Mercedes.

    No one with a 2000 era full size GM believes this, no one with a Yugo believes this, no one with a (what was the name of this blog?) believes this.

    Would you tell a Vega or Pinto owner that their car will take care of them? In the case of some Pinto owners …

  • avatar
    Wizerud

    I am sadly amused to see my current vehicle as the main photo to this article although I do understand why because of the reputation of prior generations. So far the 2016 and newer F54 Clubmen seem to be doing better. Maybe it’s the BMW engines. 33 months of the lease to go, not scared yet.

    • 0 avatar

      I needed a headline image, and I just don’t like the styling of the Clubman. However, I’ve always felt that a Mini would be a worry in the maintenance department. I have not researched to back this up.

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        Who needs research?

        Just use the title “what car *have you always felt would be a worry* in the maintenance department” or “which car do you not like the styling of”.

        • 0 avatar
          volvo

          SM said “Who needs research?
          Just use the title “what car *have you always felt* would be a worry in the maintenance department” or “which car do you not like the styling of”.”

          I hadn’t thought of it that way but now understand why I will keep my older cars.

          My answer to your questions is

          Minimal worries – Toyota
          Styling – Nothing Toyota currently produces. Genesis probably only sedan under $50K I could live with the styling of.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Now if he’d plugged in a photo of the “family truckster” from National Lampoon (or whatever that wagon was called), I think he could have gotten away with the ‘Ten Foot Pole’ headline even better.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I don’t know about the latest models but when BMW picked up the Mini, the reputation of the new version wasn’t good. The cars were overpriced for what they are (still are, in my opinion) and reliability poor with repairs expensive. The not-so-new Mini in my neighborhood has sat with minor body damage (enough to break a taillight assembly) for over three years now and seems to get a ride on a rollback at least 2-3 times a year. Granted, the concept is a fun one and the Mini is unique compared to the majority of the sub-compacts on the road but you can have as much fun with better reliability and lower cost by going with a Fiat 500.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The last truly bad car in recent memory was the hoary old Chevy Aveo. Poorly engineered with zero driving dynamics, it can best be described as ‘agricultural’. Any that are still on the road seem to be belching out clouds of blue smoke. Surprisingly, its replacement, the Sonic, seems okay.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Go drive a Mirage.

      • 0 avatar
        Publius

        Has there ever been a more (unintentionally) apt name for a car? “The Mirage—it looks like a real car. But it’s not.” Perhaps runner-up is the Ford Aspire? “Someday…it’ll be a real car.”

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “There I was, boiling hot sun in the rental parking lot, sweat pouring out like rain. They had said ‘your car is at the end of the aisle, by itself’ so I kept walking. Then I saw it. At first I thought I saw a real car, but alas, it was just a Mirage.”

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        I thought about the Mirage, and if I had to pick a new car as the worst one sold today, it might be the Mirage. But I’m not sure the Mirage is as bad as the Aveo. The Mirage has a ‘tiny’ bit of cutenss and kitsch; the Aveo had none. Like I said, the Aveo was crude and agricultural. I suspect a Mirage might last quite a bit longer than an Aveo.

        In fact, maybe one of those ultra-stripped Versa sedans might be worse than a Mirage. The Versa was one of the last cars I could think of that had A/C as an option (it’s now standard).

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          The Mirage also gets absolutely spectacular fuel economy, and isn’t so much a bad car as just very anachronistic. If you care about nothing but a cheap runabout, it will do that.

          By contrast, the Aveo was relatively thirsty, and also a Daewoo (although less troublesome than the other two – the Optra/Reno/Forenza and Epica/Verona – that were foisted on us at the same time).

          • 0 avatar
            rudiger

            ^Well said. ‘Anachronistic’ is a good description of the Mirage. It’s not a bad car; more like an average, subcompact car from a decade or two ago that you can buy new today.

            I forgot about the poor fuel mileage of the old Aveo. Combined with all its other flaws, it definitely qualifies as ‘bad’. It really didn’t do anything well (or even average) and long-term reliability was poor.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I just can’t imagine a less enjoyable driving experience than a 3 pot lashed to a CVT.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I’m not sure Mirage is worse than Aveo, it probably isn’t, but what I don’t get about the Mirage is that its just not THAT cheap, you can get so much more car for not much more money.

          When I was investigating a new car for use as a rideshare whore, I started with the Mirage. I found a base model with a manual. Then I discovered I could get a Kia Soul for about two grand more, which is far more roomy, has many more standard features (including alloys now), and is at least interesting. With 130 hp, I bet it feels like a rocket ship compared to the 78 hp (iirc) Mirage. Someone with horrible credit would be just as likely to be approved for the Soul as they would for the Mirage.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Admittedly, that’s a pricing problem. Up here, the Mirage starts at $11kCAD (about $8600 US), which is right about where it should be (every now and then, they’ll drop down to $10k or so), while the Soul starts at $20k (about $15.7USD).

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            That’s more about where it should be. Below $10k would make it a viable used car alternative.

    • 0 avatar

      We have a 2008 Aveo hatchback in our household that my husband uses as a daily driver (we also have a Chevy Sonic hatch as our long distance driver).

      Honestly, I don’t understand the dislike for the Aveo. It seems to be an easy scapegoat being GM, and being sourced by Daewoo, to pick on.

      It’s not perfect, and does only average 34mpg on the highway. The steering feel is almost non existent.

      But in its 96k miles, has been dead reliable with the exception of the AC going out at one stage. The main thing to remember is to be adamant about replacing the timing belt at 60k, which many budget minded Aveo owners neglect to do. It starts every time, has never had any mechanical defects, and there isn’t a single squeak or rattle in the cabin. We’ve taken it cross country and it’s been to Canada, DC, and back from California. It’s comfortable for our 6’5” frames, is extremely practical, doesn’t feel underpowered (it feels like a rocket compared to the Charade we also own), is pretty quiet for an economy car with a smooth, absorbent ride, and although many will beg to differ, the circular theme of the interior has a kind of fun, almost Mini or VW Beetle styling theme.

      I’ve driven worse cars that are much more punishing. The Fiesta rentals we’ve had feel claustrophobic by comparison and turned us off from ever owning one. The Honda Fit we once owned was much more buzzy and tiresome on long trips, and was strangely very unreliable.

      Count me in, with no shame, as an Aveo advocate. It’s done nothing wrong in our seven years of ownership (and it was a prior rental before he bought it) and is a pretty likable little car. Sure our Sonic is more refined, but after driving or riding in an Aveo for tens of thousands of miles collectively, there’s not much to dislike

      Before you dismiss me as some kook who drives a Sonic, Aveo, and Charade and is out of touch with automotive reality, I do drive Teslas for a living and my dream car is a Chevy SS, but after driving both of those, I still like the Aveo

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Any car that need metric tires. Because 415mm, you know, is better, than R16 – those are too easy to get anyway. No, I want to pay $800 per tire.

  • avatar
    AVT

    The previous generation dodge durangos. New or used, they exemplified exactly how not to build a vehicle to last. Rust issues, transmission failures, suspension and alignment issues. The initial mds issues on the hemis. And by far one of the worst interiors ever assembled in the later 2000’s. It remains one of the few cars that has absolutely nothing going for it compared to both its competition and what other options you could get for your money.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Pretty much anything that’s not a Lexus built between 2000-2005, I like reliability and durability, and there’s no sports-car worthy roads around here anyway.

  • avatar

    Any Nissan Versa, and generally any Nissan. I would rather drive a Prius. Ugh, that hurt to say.

  • avatar
    W210Driver

    I avoid cars which are ugly.

    That and SUVs, CUVs, Crossovers, Minivans and God knows what other dull types of cars are out there.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Mitsubishi I Miev. I’d rather move to The Villages and rock my Club Car.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Lol, very similar driving experience, I’ll bet.

      I would totally roll in a Kei car, just not that one. Honda needs to bring the S660 here. They won’t, but that’s a shame.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Corey,
    I have to disagree on the Saab 9-5 and I own one so I may be bias, but every saab since my 86 900 vert had their buttons peel, the 2011 9-5 I own I have had no issues in the year and 20,000 miles I owned it. It is a steal as a used car, is it perfect hell no, but one to avoid at all cost also hell no, parts are not very hard to get, body parts , that may be a different issue, so far I have need none, I would take my car every day over a FCA mini van and their at best so so tranny’s or over Fiat except the 124 spyder. I think you picked the wrong car in the saab, it is big, roomy cheap to buy, comes pretty well equipped , great seats and you almost never see one when your driving.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    The Saab 9-5 made this list due to a worn BUTTON??? That has piss-all to do with actual quality and everything to do with how heavy-handed the previous owners were. I’ve seen far worse wear on newer cars. Saw a 50000-mile Escalade with at least 8 buttons worn. And seats completely flattened underneath the leather.

    Anyways, my pick for this list is the Saturn Ion. It’s a hateful little turd with absolutely no redeeming qualities besides an unusually powerful engine. Runner up is the 2006 Ford Explorer. Subsequent years of this generation are Lexus-like reliable. 2006 model is 1980s Fiat reliable. The V6 model serial-killed water pumps and transmissions, and even when it ran right, it guzzled more gas than my 2007 Mercedes GL450 (which is a rock-solid reliable car)

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    What’s the word on Chinese built Buicks, aside from snarky comments up top. Are they on par with other GM products, slightly better, worse? I ask because generally speaking Chinese products are built to a price and meant to be disposable, while at the same time (from what I understand) the auto industry is booming.

    The one vehicle that I’ve had with an irritating mechanical quirk that I would advise people to avoid is the first-gen Forte. I had a 2011 2.0/6MT and seemingly at random the transmission would not go into 4th gear. I would either have to rev up and go back to 3rd or I’d need to wait a second and go into 5th, especially fun when giving it the beans to try and get on the freeway.

    I can’t say if this was an actual defect or a result of me being a relatively inexperienced manual driver (I had a goodly amount of seat time in a 98 Mustang GT and never had a similar issue), or if there was something else wrong. I took it to the dealer several times and they all alessrntially said that it was me. My friend had the same problem on the occasions that he drove it and he’s been driving manuals for 12 years before that. I traded it after 18 months when I couldn’t deal with it anymore.

    I’ve had a vehicle with a glitchy radio/information center in the form of Chrysler’s 8.4 Uconnect. That was garbage and the dealer refused to replace it. It would freeze, start buzzing at max volume and wouldn’t shut the hell up, I couldn’t adjust temperature controls either. I ditched the bitch after 6 months since I couldn’t trust the dealer when something major went wrong.

  • avatar
    hifi

    Pretty much any Jaguar/Land Rover product. I’ve been seduced way too many times by these beautiful devils. Not only is the engineering amateurish, the service isn’t able to keep up with the defects. And somehow, even though my Range Rover was under warranty, I always had some massive non-warranty bill whenever I brought it in for service. Which was far too often. I’m ashamed to say, I’ve bought a couple of these nasty beasts. My last conversation with JLR at their NJ headquarters went something like this…

    “I’m a pretty mellow guy, and I’ve allowed you to turn me into a raging lunatic for the last time. I hope you have enjoyed all the money I’ve given your for these many years. Make the most of it, because it’s the last dollar you’ll ever see from me. Now I’m going to be the most vocal and rabid anti-enthusiast you can imagine.”

  • avatar
    Phillip Walker

    Pontiac Aztec nor Anything Chrysler makes (excluding the Jeep Wrangler). Also I don’t particularly care for anything the Russian’s or Korean’s have ever designed.


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